Innovation is the entrepreneur’s magic formula.
With innovation, you can come up with inventions, disrupt industries, design marketing campaigns, create new products and make the world a better place.
Innovation can be created, but the process seems to take so long! Slow reflection and intentional observation are surely the path to innovation, but those traits can take weeks to cultivate and months to implement.
Isn’t there a faster way?
Entrepreneurs are experts at speed. And, yes, thankfully, there are ways to become more innovative rapidly.
I’m suggesting that you do it this weekend. Here is the exact schedule that you should follow.
Make the commitment.
Make the decision right now that you will do this. Resolve that you will, as a result of this guide, be a more innovative person come Monday morning.
Acknowledge your time limit.
You only have 60 hours — the length of the entire weekend.
When you commit to the time limit, you are improving your odds of innovative success. Often, the greatest moments of creativity and innovation are unleashed in the situations of highest pressure and shortest time constraints.
Take a cold shower.
Yikes. This hurts. Believe me. But it’s worth it.
- Burn fat
- Improve mood
- Spark alertness
- Flush the lymphatic system
- Increase muscle recovery
- Enhance your immune system
- Build willpower
- Increase emotional strength
- Increase circulation
- Relieve depression
- Reduce stress
Go ahead and do it.
Sleep as long as you possibly can.
When was the last time you intentionally slept for a really long time? This is your chance.
I strongly suggest not watching TV or movies on Friday night, especially if you normally do so.
Saturday is for limbering up your body, which will then limber up your mind for Sunday. Here’s how to proceed.
Meditate for at least ten minutes.
Pay close attention to how your body feels — its pressure points, the sensations, the sounds around you.
Take a 30-minute walk in nature.
Don’t worry about getting an aerobic workout. That’s not the point.
The point is to free your body, move a lot of muscles and be surrounded by something other than concrete and glass.
Don’t try to think. Your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is usually “on,” and it’s the portion of your brain that judges you and kills innovation. You don’t have to try to shut it off. Simply focus on the nature around you rather than the circumstances that may be affecting you or your business.
Completely read a single article that is totally out of your field.
Be as random as possible. Don’t go to your favorite websites or industry journals.
Google something entirely random, and click on an unfamiliar website. Ask a distant cousin to send you an interesting article in her field that she read recently. Go to the magazine section of CVS and grab the first magazine that you see.
It doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s totally outside of your realm of familiarity.
Consider this. Whitening toothpaste was born from the laundry industry. Angioplasty was inspired by vehicle airbags.
We live in an interconnected world. Innovative sparks can come from anywhere.
Eat lunch by yourself in a busy restaurant or cafeteria.
I would suggest eating in a place that you haven’t been before and ordering something that you haven’t ordered before.
Eat by yourself, but make sure you’re surrounded by other people.
Call a friend or family member to whom you haven’t spoken in a while.
I encourage you to do so even if you are introverted by nature. A simple five or ten-minute phone call with a person you haven’t talked to recently can stretch the mind in new ways.
Attend a play, concert or go to a museum.
(Please note: A movie does not count.)
The goal here is to expose yourself to art in some form, and that art must have a tangible and physical presence.
Get a good night of sleep.
Get to bed as early as you can so you can get up in time for Sunday’s activities.
Attend a religious service.
If you aren’t accustomed to attending religious services, give this a try. If you arepart of a faith community, maybe try gathering with a group that is of a different faith tradition.
Look at photos from when you were a kid.
As you look at the old photos, give yourself a moment to reflect on the experiences that you had — good ones, bad ones, sad ones, fun ones and exciting ones. Relive them in your mind.
Write down ten business questions for which you don’t have clear answers.
These should be the thorniest, stickiest and most impossible questions of all.
Write down answers — anything that comes to mind — to those ten questions.
There is no wrong answer here. Stephen Shapiro, the Innovation Evangelist, explains, “Expertise is the enemy of innovation.”
If you’re trying to get the right answer, it will be the wrong one. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but here’s why. When you feel like you have the best answer, you stop innovating. It would be better for you to have a wacky answer than to have a good or workable solution.
This is an important point, so please don’t miss it. You are not allowed to get help on these answers. You are responsible for answering them. Don’t phone a friend or Google it. Just write down the best possible answer.
This is a crucial step in the innovation-boosting process. If you skip this process because it’s too hard, too uncomfortable or too painful, you’re short-circuiting the entire process.
Do it. Regardless.
Write down your ideal day.
Sit down with a blank sheet of paper (not your computer) and write down a list describing your ideal day. If you had no constraints, no obligations, and the freedom to shape your identity, write down what your schedule would be for an entire day.
Proceed with confidence.
Congratulations. You’ve achieved a new level of innovation.
But wait? Where are all the creativity-boosting mind tricks?
You just read them all. Innovation isn’t just about mind tricks. It’s about the whole state of your body and mind, working in concert to bring your innovation to the surface.
Do you feel any different?
You might. At the very least, your brain has been stretched and altered in ways that it probably hasn’t before.
The path to greater innovation is to put neural pathways into play that have fallen out of use.
I guarantee that you are going to walk into your work on Monday morning with a higher degree of innovation.
You can become more innovative in a single weekend.
But if you did it one weekend, why not do it in another weekend, and another, and another?
Innovation is like a muscle. It grows with experience, usage and constant attention. But it also grows when we intentionally make changes in our lives.
By becoming more innovative entrepreneurs, we can make this world a far better place.
How will you seek to become more innovative?